New Delhi [India], Aug 21 (ANI): Australian election officials joined their Indian counterparts here on Tuesday to discuss the future of electoral democracy, with a focus on issues such as increasing voter participation, the merits of electronic voting and counting; and political funding, disclosure and compliance.

The University of Melbourne's Election Watch project and the Australia India Institute partnered with the Trivedi Centre for Political Data at Ashoka University to exchange knowledge and insights about the recent national elections that recently took place in both nations. The Forum was supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs.

Speaking in this context, Election Commissioner of Victoria (Australia), Warwick Gately told ANI, "A very worthwhile and informative engagement took place with the officials from the Election Commission of India. We learnt very much."

Meanwhile, Assistant Director of the University of Melbourne's School of Government Tom Daly said that the Forum is an important opportunity for knowledge exchange, building on the University's already strong relationship with India.

"India is the world's largest democracy and there is a lot Australia can learn from its latest election. Likewise, we will be able to share our insights from our national election in May," Daly stated.

"The University of Melbourne has partnerships with a number of leading institutes in India, and our academics are working with their Indian colleagues across significant research projects. The Election Watch Forum is another positive step in strengthening our partnership."

"We'd like to thank the Australia High Commission in India for its support and participation in the Forum," he added.

Both the countries shared experiences and discussed different ways of conducting elections.

Deputy Election Commissioner, Sudeep Jain told ANI, "A very good context and deliberations took place. The issues which have been brought out, especially political financial, require a much larger deliberation."

When asked about controversies related to the electronic voting machines (EVMs) during the recently held general elections in India, Jain said, "We have been using EVMs for two decades very successfully. Not one has ever recorded a wrong vote. Several times, the courts have examined and they have always upheld their integrity."

Parliamentary elections were held across different states in India and Australia in the month of May. While Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison's Liberal/National coalition won 77 seats, his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party garnered more than 300 seats.

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